As the saying goes: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions is one suspicious duck.
However, a letter to President Donald Trump shows that Sessions had a hand in firing now former FBI Director James Comey, the very man overseeing the investigation into the Trump camp and Russia. Furthermore, Sessions was responsible for hiring the new acting FBI director and, subsequently, the new head of the Russia investigation.
In the words of Judd Legum, editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress, "This is not what recusal looks like."
Sessions, who is supposed to be recused from the Russia investigation, selecting the person charged with overseeing the Russia investigation https://t.co/PgsKubn5Mr— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) May 10, 2017
The president's controversial choice to fire Comey was already dubious, but Sessions' involvement has turned smoke to fire. His role in Comey's removal and in selecting his replacement is raising serious questions as to how the Russia investigation will be handled moving forward, if at all.
“I am also deeply troubled by the fact that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who pledged to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his own Russia connections, involved himself in Director Comey’s firing,” Sen. Al Franken (DFL-Minnesota) said in a statement. “This is a complete betrayal of his commitment to the public that he wouldn’t be involved in the investigation.”
Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) echoed Franken's concerns on Twitter, mystified as to why the attorney general had anything to say on Comey in the first place.
Comey firing recommended by Sessions. I thought he had recused himself from Russia investigation!— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) May 9, 2017
Taking it a step further, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) tweeted for Sessions to resign over failing to keep his promise to remain outside of the Russia probe.
Sessions said he’d recuse himself from anything to do with Russia. It’s clear he did not. Calling for him to resign (again).— Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) May 10, 2017
The New York Times reported that Sessions was given the task of finding a viable reason to fire Comey. While Comey was ultimately dismissed due to his mishandling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, details have emerged suggesting that this was merely a pretext.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Trump and his lackeys were incensed by Comey's refusal to acquit him of his alleged collaboration with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election.
"Frustration was growing among top associates of the president that Mr. Comey, in a series of appearances before a Senate panel, wouldn’t publicly tamp down questions about possible collusion with Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race," according to the Journal. "A person with knowledge of recent conversations said they wanted Mr. Comey to 'say those three little words: There’s no ties.’”
With Comey out, Sessions — in partnership with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — continued to show how little his word means by interviewing candidates for the position of interim FBI director. He and Rosenstein settled on Andrew McCabe, who comes with his own considerable baggage.
Currently under investigation for his part in the FBI probe of Clinton's emails, McCabe is a bizarre choice. If the current administration was truly so disturbed by Comey's actions in the Clinton investigation that Trump would feel compelled to fire him, McCabe shouldn't have even been in the running.
The last 24 hours have thrown the U.S into a whirlwind of confusion, suspicion, and doubt. Furthermore, the Trump administration is doing nothing to restore the people's confidence in their government. Instead, they're playing more shadow games and making the informed public wonder if we're not at the beginning of something monumentally bad.
Because Sessions isn't the only questionable duck in the pond.